Case study: Rosehill Library and its
The material presented here comes
from a study compiled by Rosehill Readers
(http://rosehillreaders.wordpress.com), a campaign group which supports
Rosehill's branch library and Suffolk's public library network as a
whole. Rosehill Library in Tomline Road was opened 29 years before
Northgate Street Library. The text and images are taken from a variety
citations – wherever possible – are given at the end of the
piece. The Ipswich Historic Lettering website is interested in Street name
derivations in Ipswich as well as
historic public lettering and both feature in this extended article. We
hope that you will find it interesting.
Brief history of English public
When William Ewart introduced his Public Libraries Bill
in 1849 he encountered considerable hostility from the Conservatives in
the House of Commons. It was argued that the rate-paying middle and
upper classes would be paying for a service that would be mainly used
by the working classes. One argued that the "people have too much
knowledge already: it was much easier to manage them twenty years ago;
the more education people get the more difficult they are to manage."
Ewart was therefore forced to make several changes to his proposed
legislation before Parliament agreed to pass the measure.
The Public Libraries Act became law in 1850. Whereas William Ewart
wanted all boroughs to have the power to finance public libraries, the
legislation only applied to those boroughs with populations of over
10,000. The Borough Councils also had to obtain the consent of two
thirds of the local ratepayers who voted in a referendum. Other
restrictions included that the rate of no more than a halfpenny in the
pound could be levied. Furthermore, this money could not be used to
William Ewart and Joseph Brotherton continued with their struggle for a
more generous and comprehensive approach to public library provision.
This led to two amendments to the 1850 Public Libraries Act. In 1853
the act was extended to Scotland and Ireland and in 1855 the rate which
could be levied was raised to a penny. Borough Councils were also
granted the power to buy reading material for their libraries.
The penny rate still made it impossible for local authorities to
provide libraries without the support of wealthy entrepreneurs. These
philanthropists usually supported libraries in their own areas. For
example, Henry Tate and John Passmore Edwards in London. However, the
greatest supporter of public libraries was Andrew Carnegie, who helped
to finance over 380 libraries in Britain.
Norwich lays claims to being the first municipality to adopt the Public
Libraries Act 1850, but theirs
was actually the eleventh library in the
country to open, in 1857, after Winchester,
Manchester, Liverpool, Bolton, Kidderminster, Cambridge, Birkenhead and
Sheffield. Ipswich Victoria Free Library was established in 1887.
“Ipswich was one of the first towns in the country to adopt the
1852[sic] Public Libraries Act and to open branch libraries to serve
outlying parts of the town. The earliest of these were at the junction
of Clapgate Lane and Mildmay Road [site of the present Gainsborough
Library], Norwich Road [actually Richmond Road, later moved up to
Sherrington Road], Tomline Road [Rosehill Library] and Stoke Street
[later incorporated into the new Stoke High School, Maidenhall
Approach]. There were several private and institutional libraries in
the town, including that housed in the old Carnegie Building['The Town
handed to the borough but moved to Ipswich School in the 1980s. The
Northgate Street library was built in 1924.
In the pioneering days of public libraries it was thought innovative
that tickets were interchangeable and books could be returned to any of
these ‘service’ points. Anyone living in Ipswich, paying
rates or being educated in the town could borrow books without charge.
Visitors were allowed to take out a prescription for six months and had
access to the Reading Room; the Reference Library could be used
‘without formality of any kind’.”
John Glyde (1823-1905) who lived at 9 Eagle
a radical thinker involved in many organisations working for the social
and cultural improvements of Ipswich, including the founding of a Free
Library for the town. His bequest of books and manuscripts to the
Ipswich Corporation in 1905 is now in the Suffolk Record Office,
Ipswich. During his working life he was a bookseller, an agent for
domestic servants and a registrar of marriages. He is celebrated by a Blue plaque.
County libraries are a later development which were made possible by
the establishment of County Councils in 1888. They normally have a
large central library in a major town with smaller branch libraries in
other towns and a mobile library service covering rural areas.
By 1900 there were 295 public libraries in Britain. However, it was not
until 1919, when the rate limit was abolished and the formal adoption
abandoned, that a truly comprehensive and free library service was
The service was threatened in the 1970s, when many writers threatened
to withdraw their works from library collections, in protest at the
lack of a satisfactory compensation scheme. The Government responded by
passing the Public Lending Right Act 1979, which provided for a
centrally-funded scheme to pay writers and artists. This was provided
in 2003-2004 by £7.4 million from the Government.
In October 2010 it was announced that the total funding for the Public
Lending Right (PLR) would be reduced over the Spending Review period,
and that in light of the need to find savings in the difficult economic
climate, the extension of PLR to audiobooks and e-books would not
proceed at that time. It was also announced in January 2011, following
an eight week consultation, that the PLR rate would be reduced from
6.29 pence to 6.25 pence.
The library service today is governed by the Public Libraries and
Museums Act 1964. The 1964 Act puts upper tier local authorities under
a duty to provide a "comprehensive and efficient library service", and
puts that work under the superintendence of central government. Today,
this is the role of the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and
Sport. The DCMS published its 'Framework for the Future' in 2003 which
an 11 point vision for public libraries to aspire to by 2013.
In 1995 the DCMS's predecessor, the Department of National Heritage,
up the Library and Information Commission (LIC) as a national resource
expertise - advising government on all issues relating to the library
and information sector. This was replaced in 2000, by Resource: The
Council for Museums, Libraries and Archives, which in turn changed its
name to the Museums, Libraries and Archives Council (MLA) in February
However, in July 2010, as part of the Coalition government's plans to
merge, abolish or streamline public bodies in a bid to drive down
costs, it was announced that the MLA would be abolished. The statutory
Advisory Council for Libraries would also be wound down via the Public
Bodies Bill. In Suffolk the County Council voted at the end of 2011 to
'divest' the whole library service to an external body with severely
reduced funding and heavy reliance on volunteers. Who knows if Rosehill
Library will survive?
Counties and Boroughs. East
Suffolk, along with West Suffolk, was created in 1888 as an
administrative county of England. The administrative county was based
on the eastern quarter sessions division of Suffolk. East Suffolk
County Council's headquarters was in Ipswich, which was a county
borough in its own right. Before the introduction of county councils,
Suffolk had been divided into eastern and western divisions, each with
their own quarter sessions. East Suffolk was abolished in 1974 when
most of the county was merged with West Suffolk and the county borough
of Ipswich to form the non-metropolitan county of Suffolk. A small part
of East Suffolk was included in Norfolk in 1974.
“146 MUNICIPAL FREE LIBRARIES.
High street: W. Fenton, Librarian:
F. Woolnough, Secretary. Est. 1887. Number of volumes in Lending Dept.:
7,000 ; Reference Department: 8,000 ; annual issue: 69,000. Annual
income from library rate: £374, affording £100 for the
purchase of books. Open on week-days from 9 a.m. to 9-30 p.m.; Sundays
3 to 5 and 7 to 9.” [Source: Clegg, James]
Victoria Free Library, High street : W. Fenton. Librarian.
[Later undated edition of Clegg.] Opened 1887. Number of volumes in
Central and one Branch Library [presumably Rose Hill] 12,000; annual
circulation 80,000. Annual income from rate £500, affording
£150 for the purchase of books. Open on week-days only from 9
a.m. to 9-30 p.m. A new Reference Library is about to be built."
High Street Museum date
Ipswich Library before 1924
High Street Museum
opened officially on the red letter day of 27 July 1881, the day on
which the new southern lock into the Wet Dock – close to the
brewery – and the decorative Post Office on Cornhill.
"The Borough of Ipswich Free Library, Museum
buildings, High Street, is
a rate-supported institution under the direction of the Museum
Committee of the Corporation. The growth of the Free Library has been
very gradual, a municipal library for the free use of the inhabitants
having existed for nearly three centuries. A collection of books was
formed in 1612, partly from a bequest of books made in 1598 by William
Smart, Portman of the Borough, for the use of the town preacher,
partly from a legacy of £50 from Mrs Walters in 1594, probably
left for the Corporation to apply at their discretion. Many gifts were
made from time to time, and about 600 volumes still remain as part of
the reference department, including some ancient manuscripts written on
vellum, incunabula, and other works of bibliographical and historical
interest [these constituted the 'Ipswich Town Library' which were
eventually housed at Ipswich public school]. In
1887 the Jubilee of Her
Majesty Queen Victoria was
celebrated by a public subscription, which was applied to the building
of the Lending Library, and there are altogether about 48,000 volumes,
the lending department containing about 24,000. The Reference
department includes a complete set of the Specifications of Patents,
and has also been stocked with books to meet the requirements of all
classes of students and book-lovers - science, art, and technical
works, history topography and local history &c. The hours of
opening are as follows:- Library, 10 a.m. to 9 p.m., closed on
Wednesdays at 1p.m.; reading room, 9 a.m. to 9.30 p.m. Secretary, Frank
Woolnough F. R. Met. Soc.; chief librarian and clerk, Henry Ogle F.L.A."
(N.B.: The term "Free Library" distinguished it from a
subscription library which often existed at the same time in a town as
the publicly-funded library. In Ipswich there was a subscription
library that operated from The Ancient
House in Butter Market.)
The Ipswich Museum page
wing and entrance to the original public library. From the press
coverage of the period it becomes clear that Rosehill
Library was the first branch (albeit in a private house) of the Ipswich
Victoria Free Library to be opened (1895), so it predates the present
Ipswich County Library by twenty-nine years. More of this below.
County Library date
Ipswich Library in Northgate Street
The Minutes of The Museum, Art Gallery, and Free
Library Committee of Ipswich Corporation document the building of the
Central Library in Northgate Street and the growth of branch libraries.
In June 1914 the Committee applied to the Carnegie United Kingdom Trust
for a grant for the purpose of building a new
Central Library. In due course the Trust sent its Secretary and a Library Expert to examine and
report upon the Library system in Ipswich. By 1916 The Trust indicated their general approval of the plans with
some modifications and Alderman W. F. Paul (see Eminent personages,
below) had conveyed
the site in Northgate Street to the Corporation for the
new building. Despite the ill heath due to over-work and nervous
exhaustion of the Librarian, Mr Ogle, in 1921 (the Committe granted him
three month's leave and £60), slow progress was made until
the Carnegie Trust a confirmed their grant to
the Council of £22,500. Work started in February 1921, despite
delays caused by a building strike., the building being completed for
the opening in 1924. By May that year the library had its own committe,
distinct from the museum's, as required by the Carnegie Trust. A new
Chief Librarian had been recruited and there were busy preparations for
the move from the museum and formal opening.
The Central Library was formally opened on
September 3rd 1924 by Sir
Charles Sherrington, G.B.E., O.M (see Sherrington Road in the Street name derivations page). The Rt.
Ullswater, P.C., G.C.B., and Col. J.M. Mitchell, O.B.E., were amongst
those present. His Worship the Mayor (J. R. Staddon, Esq.) presided.
The premises were open for inspection on that evening when they were
visited by over 5,000 people and the full day-to-day work of the
libraries was resumed on September 4th.
From the outset great and increasing interest was shown by the public;
during the first month the number of borrowers from the Central Library
increased from 2,698 to 4,651. The greater facilities offered in the
new premises, particularly open access (being able to choose your books
from the shelves: something we all take for granted), have been much
appreciated by readers, and the publicity attached to their
inauguration served to bring the work of the Libraries to the notice of
many who had not previously made use of them. The children's library
was a new development for the service, issuing an average of 452 books
a day. It was only open in the evenings on
weekdays, excepting during the school holidays
on Saturdays when it was open all day,
By the 1929-1930 report, all the libraries in Ipswich are listed, that
is Lending, Children's, and Reference at the central library plus the
branch libraries at Stoke, Rose Hill, Springfield, Westerfield, New
Estate, and Whitton.
to see a scan of the original bookmark.
A contemporary (possibly 1930s or 1940s) 'Ipswich
Public Library' book-mark (found inside an old copy of the
biography of Margaret Catchpole by Richard Cobbold) is instructive.
Amongst the busy
display advertisements – using sponsorship to subsidise public
isn't new – the book-mark folds just above the word 'Ipswich' to
left. Lift the flap and we find an interesting list of Ipswich
"Ipswich Public Libraries,
Hours of Opening
Lending: 10-8; Reference 9.30-9
Children's 4.30-8; Wed. 2-8
Sat. 10-1 and 2-7
Reading Room 9-9 daily
Lending 5-8 Sat. 10-1 and 2.30-8
Reading Room: open until 9
5.30-8.30 Mon., Wed., Sat
Springfield: Wed. 6.30-8.30
Westerfield: Thurs 6.30-8
New Estate: Thurs. 6.30-8.30
Whitton: Tues. 6.30-8"
We assume that 'New Estate' refers to the branch
on the Gainsborough council house development to
the southeast of the town which occurred in the 1930s. The Chantry
estate was not built until later (the 1950s: the roads around Gippeswyk
Park named after flowering plants and 1960s: the roads further to the
southwest named after birds). 'Springfield' refers to the original
branch in Norwich Road which was replaced by Westbourne Library in
Sherrington Road. The references to 'Westerfield' branch remains a mystery but
branch must be the one which started in Richmond Road (off Norwich
Road, later relocated to Sherrington Road and known as Westbourne
Library) . The opening hours are limited and very
'evening-heavy', presumably to accomodate visits by people at work all
Holy Trinity Church and its only visible lettering (on the
church hall); both buildings are Listed Grade II. Holy Trinity Church now has its own page.
A brief history of the Rosehill area
It seems a long way from Holy
Trinity Church in Back
Rosehill Library but stay with us…
Holy Trinity Church was built in 1835 as a Chapel of Ease to St
Clement’s Church, and dedicated to the Holy Trinity by the
Reverend John Thomas Nottidge, M.A., [probably the origin of Nottidge
Road in Ipswich!] Patron and Rector of St. Clement's
and St. Helen's churches. He erected the church at his own expense, at
of £2,400. The land was previously used as a ropewalk. The
consecration was carried out by the Bishop of Sodor [shades of Thomas
The Tank Engine?] and Man acting for the Bishop of Norwich. Holy
Trinity was the first church in Ipswich to be built since the
Reformation and this was during the reign of King William IV who was
the final Hanoverian King (and called the "sailor king").
2013 image of Trinity Lodge
There is a link to the medieval building further up Back Hamlet,
Trinity Lodge. The core of Trinity Lodge dates back to the 16th century
when it started life as a farmhouse, set in the open country. It was
extended in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. However, the
property went downhill in the 20th century when it was converted into
three flats. More recently it was used for storage. The Ipswich
Building Preservation Trust (see Links)
oversaw the renovation in around 2002. The
earliest known name for Trinity Lodge and land is Walch or Wash Fenn,
in 1735. At that time the sixty acre estate extended across the valley
towards Bishops Hill and up the valley, which is now Cavendish Street,
to within 100 yards of Alan Road. The house was called Walch Fenn in
the early nineteenth century and in later years it was called Lower
Hill House, to differentiate it from a near neighbour, Hill House (now Alexandra Park). It became Trinity Lodge
in the late 19th century. The land which originally formed part of the
estate was nearly all sold in the early 19th century leaving the
immediate surrounding garden and four acres to the south. By 1880 this
field was sold off to become brick works. Research has traced the
ownership of Trinity Lodge back to 1720 when it was owned by Thomas
King, a London glazier. He sold it on to a local man, Walter Ray.
Between 1874 and 1895 it was used as a rectory for the neighbouring
Rev. F.H. Maude was responsible for building the Trinity Church Day
Schools in Trinity Street, costing nearly £2,000, and the
new Vicarage at the top of Bishop's Hill (in what is now Rosehill Road)
1868, at a cost of £1,500. Only a few yards down Bishop’s
Hill is a large retaining wall on the left which
bears the hill’s name in brickwork. This retaining wall
continues past the junctions with Rosehill Crescent and Rosehill Road
until the road and house levels even out. The raised ground around
Bishop’s Hill and Hollywells Park gives commanding views over the
Orwell estuary and was a good place to build substantial houses for the
wealthy. The bird's eye view
shows that all of them
(including Upper Gate, Gainsborough Lodge, Parkhurst and Trinity
Vicarage) still stand.
For information about Alan Road Methodist Church and St Bathlomew's
Church click Rosehill churches.
From the history section of Holy Trinity Church website:
By kind permission of Miss Roberts this is to be held at Rose Hill,
Felixstowe Road, on Wednesday next, from 3pm – 7pm. The St
John’s Home Band, a Cycle Parade in fancy dress, Gramophone, Lawn
Tennis, Croquet and other games, are the chief attractions offered. Tea
will be offered at one penny a cup; eatables at an equally small
charge. Admission will be sixpence each. When it is known that the
proceeds are to be given to the Curate’s Fund and Church Pastoral
Aid Society we expect that our congregation and their friends will help
to make this the success it deserves to be”. Note: This was the
first of Holy Trinity’s garden fetes, thought to be necessary
owing to the death of Mr Biddle who had previously contributed very
heavily towards the Church expenses.”
Robert Malster, local historian:
“… Miss Roberts lived at ‘Rosehill House’,
which was the first dwelling in Felixstowe Road - which was separated
from Bishops Hill by Rose Hill Road. So Rosehill House must be on the
corner of Felixstowe Road and Rose Hill Road. Miss Roberts is still at
‘Rose Hill House’ - yes, the spelling changes! - in 1916,
but at some stage the house is no longer listed in the directories ...
Mr. Biddle who'd died was on Bishop's Hill. I'd reckon that fete is
quite late, perhaps about 1910 from the mention of a Gramophone and
Anyway, we now know that Rose Hill got the name from a house occupied
by a Miss Roberts - I wonder who she was?” As it turns out, the
house is bigger than expected and set back in its own grounds.
Doing a little more digging, we unearthed the potential
source of the name ‘Rose Hill’. An 1812 map entitled
‘Liberties of Ipswich in the
County of Suffolk (as ascertained by
a perambulation performed by the Bailiffs and other members of the
Corporation, September 7th 1812’ places the word
‘Roe’ on the Rosehill area. Only the radial roads from the
town centre exist at this period: Back Hamlet, Foxhall Road, Felixstowe
Road and Nacton Road.
for an enlargement of the map.
And this is where the story crosses over with
Cobbold family history, and not for the only time. Charles Cobbold was
of the fourth generation of the famous brewing family. It is almost
certain that he met (and fell in love with?) Ann Roe at his mother's
Valentine party in 1811. It seems likely that Anne Roe inherited the
Rose Hill Estate on the death of Owen Roe in 1825 and that having
married Charles Cobbold, in St Clements Church, Ipswich in 1815, she
became the owner with her husband, passing it on to their only
surviving son, Alan Brooksby Cobbold when they both died in 1859. In
1864 he owned the 238 acre Rose Hill estate. It was sold to the Rev E.
C. Alston of Dennington. On his death it was sold again and Rose Hill
(Rosehill) Road, Alston Road (named after its late clergyman owner) and
Alan Road were constructed, the last
named after Alan Brooksby Cobbold.
So, Owen Roe is described as ‘Farmer of Rose Hill, Ipswich’
(1770-1825). It is not too much of a stretch to look at that label of
ownership on the 1812 map: ‘Roe’ and think that the origin
of the local name was “Roe’s Hill”, which soon became
verbally modified into “Rosehill”. Roe’s Hill would
have been adjacent to the nearby “Bishop’s Hill”
(which formed the border of the Bishop’s Wick which was one of
the four hamlets into which the town was once divided, this including
the residence of the Bishop of Norwich). The speculative similarity of
naming of the two “Hills” is convincing. Incidentally, Ann
Roe is buried in a large tomb with her father in the grounds of the
Chapel of St Andrew, Darmsden (a church privately-owned by the local
community) not far from Needham Market. The inscription is unclear but
suggests her date of death might have been 1859. Click here to view the tomb.
See also Margaret Hancock's research
on the history of the Rosehill housing estate, written thirty years
ago, but added to this website in 2015 which confirms and amplifies the
information about the area. Many thanks to Margaret for this
The big houses
The first house in Rosehill Road, as it now is
from the Bishop's Hill end is number 199. It
was (until about 1992 when a new-build house in keeping with it
surroundings – visible in the image above – was erected in
its garden on the corner) “Trinity
Vicarage”, which still bears its name painted on the gate-post.
The four holes drilled in the stone indicate that a metal nameplate
once covered this lettering which is shallow-chiselled serif'd capitals
with a black paint infill. (See also Woodbridge
Road for a partially-named former vicarage.) For
more house name plaques at the other end of this road see Rosehill house names. Incidentally, the
right-hand gable of this
fine house was rebuilt after the house suffered bomb damage (and a
consequent death in the garden, we hear) during the 2nd World War: the
differences are particularly noticeable in the brickwork above the
The 2012 photograph of the vicarage (above) shows a trailing plant
covering the area above the front door. By 2014 the wall has been
cleared to reveal a monogrammed, dated plaque:
which would be the initials of
the vicar who had the house built, Rev. F.H. Maude, the incumbent
of Holy Trinity Church, in 1868. It was also noted,
perhaps unusually, that the faint, carved lettering 'TRINITY VICARAGE'
can be found on the stone section in the corner brick pilaster
(Rosehill Road, Felixtowe Road), shown below.
The first few yards of what we now call Rosehill
Road is labeled on an
OS map of 1883/4 as ‘Vicarage Road’. This
must have been cut first as an access to Trinity Vicarage. The short,
right-angled road we now call Rosehill Crescent was the continuation of
the original Rosehill Road.
Click here for
the map close-up also for the 'bird's eye
view' image showing the current layout of
roads and buildings.
On the 1882 map, between Vicarage Road and Alston Road,
set back from Felixstowe Road is Rosehill House. It survives to this
day as a large, handsome (un-signed) building. Now four flats (perhaps
others added on) at the end of the cul-de-sac Sandhurst Avenue. The
present Rosehill Road curves round close to the rear of the property.
If you doubt the 'hill' component of 'Rosehill' glance between the old
houses on the outer curve of the road to see the land fall away behind
them towards the lower part of Cavendish
Above: the view from Sandhurst Avenue. Rosehill House
surrounded by 1930 semis.
The 1984 'Local list' (see Reading list)
prepared by The Ipswich Society (see Links)
"21-24 Sandhurst Avenue, early 19th century; 2 storey detached house,
originally 'Rose Hill' house. Suffolk white brick, hipped slate roof
with red terra cotta ridge. 4 window range, 4 & 6 light sashes with
stone lintels. 2, 6 french windows with rubbed brick arches to
Ground Floor. Timber door surround – fluted pillasters with plain
cornice, recessed doorway in glazed screen approached by 3 stone steps.
Timber dentilled eaves. 2 storey rear outbuildingsimilar to main house
but walls cement rendered. Some original chimneys.
4 flats and 1 private house."
Even the tiny pond/roundabout in front is mentioned: "Pond – Sandhurst
Avenue. Originally part of the garden of 21-24 but now in turning
circle of road.
Stone circular surround with central stone 'cup' ornament. Flanked by
two yew trees."
Indeed you can identify this pond on the 1883 map (above).
Above: the front elevation. Original sash windows
replaced by unsympathetic plastic double-glazing. The brickwork above
the porch indicates that a big, central first storey window (which
have matched those on each side) has been replaced by two smaller
windows when the conversion to flats occurred. The large single front
door in the porch has been replaced by three doors to flats.
Above: Next to No. 56 Rosehill Road is a driveway
the rear of the big house with a detached house set back on each side
of the plot; there is access to other properties, apparently.
The above interpretation of the origin's of the
name 'Rosehill' is supported by a fascinating Letter to the Editor in
the East Anglian Daily Times
dated 29.2.1895 written by Mr T. Abbott-Howe, Honorary Secretary of the
Ipswich Victoria Free Library, Rose Hill Branch
[the story of which is detailed below].
"... I should like further to remark that the Branch has not been
established exclusively for the benefit of that part of the town yclept
California. The name California has long
since been merged into
of the parish of St. John; indeed with a few exceptions it may be
considered as obsolete. This part of the town which is commonly spoken
of as Rose Hill, was long anterior to the district of California. In a
letter received in 1887 from my old friend Dr. Clarke, of Wakefield, a
native of Ipswich, and for some years curator of the Museum, he
expressed surprise that my letters were updated from Rose Hill, stating
that that was a corruption of
Rowe's Hill, so termed from
the gentleman who went by the sobriquet
of Ready-Money Rowe, and who built the Mansion now known as Rose Hill
House, and that previous to its erection, it was called Bishop's Hill."
[That's nine commas and three sets of italics in one sentence. It's
also notable that Mr Abbott-Howe spelt the name with a 'w' in 'Rowe'.
It is clear from the Roe family tomb
inscriptions at Darmsden that 'Roe' is the correct spelling.]
A footnote to the big houses here on the high ground overlooking what
was, in the 19th century, the poorest part of Ipswich: St Clement's
"Overlooking the densely populated dockside area though hidden from
view, were the houses of some important townsmen. Most notably, at the
top of Bishop's Hill stood Holywells, the residence and park of the
Cobbolds, the dominant ground landlord of the district below, the owner
of the Cliff Brewery and a
considerable employer of labour. Also at the
top of the hill there were a number of new houses of men of some
substance in the town's affairs including a mechanical engineer,
Biddell, at Upland Gate [the big house partly visible from the
present-day Rosehill Crescent], Thomas Mortimer, a merchant and Rev.
Francis Maude, the Vicar of Holy Trinity Church. At the top of Back
Hamlet was Hill House and its grounds, the residence of the Byles
family, malsters and merchants, and just below was Trinity Lodge, where
the vicar of St Lawrence lived. Such residences away from and literally
above the masses in the streets below and unlike those of their fellows
who still lived in Fore Street and Church Street [later Grimwade
Street], were part of that process of spatial distancing that was
taking place in Ipswich as in most large towns as in nineteenth-century
class society became more clearly differentiated. This separation of
the classes is also apparent within the area as well: behind the mainly
middle and lower middle class thoroughfares of Fore Street, Church
Street and Borough Road lay the warren of poor housing where the mass
of the labouring poor lived." Extract from Rags and Bones by Frank Grace see Reading List.
Click here for more on St
Bartholomew's Church / Alan Road Methodist Church
Bob Malster continues:
“The parish of St. Bartholomew's was formed out of parts of Holy
Trinity and St. Clement's parishes in August, 1894 and the church was
built thereafter; in 1908 it was said to be still unfinished. I get the
feeling that the Rose Hill area was only developed in the late 19th and
early 20th centuries, rather later than California, or the St. John's
area as it's now more often known; the development there started in the
early days of the Ipswich and Suffolk Freehold Land Society, formed in
1849, the year of the Californa gold rush - hence the nickname of the
area [the California Social Club is just up the road from Rosehill
Library]. When the Felixstowe railway line was opened in 1876 there
were bitter complaints from Ipswich Corporation that Derby Road station
was worthless as it was so far from the town and from any habitation.
[It is perhaps significant that the car park behind Rosehill Library
backs onto the railway cutting of the Westerfield-Felixstowe line,
Colonel Tomline who lived at Orwell Park, Nacton and after whom Tomline
named.] In 1892 Derby Road station was said to be in St. John's and
there's no mention in the directory of Rose Hill, except that Rose Hill
Road Board School had been erected in 1884 and had an average
attendance of 164. It was enlarged in 1898 and in 1904 was said to have
an average attendance of 312 girls and 251 infants - it doesn’t
seem to have taken boys when they got beyond the infant stage. There's
no mention of Rose Hill Library, so perhaps your date of 1906 is
Yes, it's appeared in Tomline Road by 1912, with an honorary librarian!”
[*It actually turned out to have been opened on 24th
May 1905; see document D. below.] See our Railway bridges page for more on the
map section shows the very limited development of the surrounding
area at that date. The plots for houses are identified and marked out
with the library branch plot (coloured orange) being one of the larger
ones. This might suggest that the Borough had it in mind during the
surveying and laying out of the area, prior to major building. However,
the 1879 FLS map on the
same page shows two separate initial owners of the plot twenty-six
years before the building/opening of Rosehill Library in Tomline Road.
Anthony Cobbold of the Cobbold Family History Trust adds that:
"St Bartholomew's has always been a great centre of the Catholic
Movement within the Church of England and its fine building was erected
through the generosity of Anna Frances Spooner (1830-1906), daughter of
John Chevallier Cobbold (1797-1882) and wife of Dean Edward Spooner
(1821-1899) of Hadleigh whose brother-in-law was the first Scottish
Archbishop of Canterbury, 1868-1882." This red brick Anglo-Catholic
church in the middle of Rosehill's terraced houses and gardens (which
Simon Knott on his Suffolk Churches website – see Links
– has described as "a Victorian
railway suburb") has an
important link to the local branch library in that the first Vicar of
St Bartholemew's Chuch was Rev. G.A. Cobbold and, as we see from the
'Eminent personages' section towards the end of this page, he was one
the first patrons of Rosehill Library.
The IBC Local List tells us:
'Rosehill Library. Early 20thc. 2 storey detached library building.
Domestic scale; gabled roof, the eaves extending to first floor level.
A flat roofed single storey extension has been added to the rear. Red
brick, painted render, clay tile roof. The entrance elevation to
Tomline Road has a centrally placed doorway between three light
rectangular window openings. Above, a blank fascia with the lettering
‘Rosehill Library’, capped by a simple timber cornice. Above, and
disappearing behind the bargeboards of the gable eaves, a rectangular
six light window with one pane subdivided into nine lights.'
A. Transcript of an article from the East
Anglian Daily Times /
Evening Star, 28 February, 1895.
Click here to view an image
of the document.
“FREE LIBRARY DEVELOPMENT AT
– A BRANCH FOR CALIFORNIA –
The necessity of establishing a branch of the Ipswich Victoria Free
Lending Library in that district of the town comprising parts of the
parishes of St. John’s, Holy Trinity, and St. Bartholomew has on
more than one occasion been recognised. With a view of carrying this
into effect, the Rev. J.H. Jennings, curate of Holy Trinity, summoned a
meeting of residents in the Rose Hill district, who readily fell in
with the proposal of establishing a branch library in connection with
the central one in High Street. Active measures were immediately set on
foot, and with the formation of a committee, consisting of the Rev.
J.H. Jennings, Mr. W. Lindsay, Mr. J. Webb, Mr. R.E. Adams, together
with the assistance of Mr. T. Abbott Howe, who has displayed no little
enthusiasm in the project, rapid progress was made. With the
co-operation of the Committee of the Victoria Free Library, and a ready
response to the subscription list, a library comprising 450 books has
been started at Winterbourne House, Alston Road, through the kindness
of Mr R.E. Adams, who besides lending the room, has undertaken to act
as honorary librarian.
The formal opening of the library took place on Wednesday afternoon,
when there were present, Mr Edward Packard, jun., chairman of the
Victoria Free Library Committee; Mr J.H. Grimwade, the Rev. W.H.
Williamson, Mr. W. Lindsay, the Rev. T.W. Tozer, Mr. Frank Woolnough,
The Rev. J. H. Jennings, Mr. T.H. Abbott Howe (hon. sec.), and Mr. R.E.
Adams. – Mr. Packard expressed his gratification that they had
started a branch of the Town Library, which certainly could not
properly serve the requirements of that district. He hoped that the new
branch was the forerunner of others in other districts of the town.
Though it was on one side of the high level district, it would fulfil
the requirements of those living in that wide district on the east of
the town. Having made allusion to the advantages accruing from a
library of that character, Mr. Packard said the public were greatly
indebted to those gentlemen who had been so actively engaged in
starting the movement. He assured them that the Committee of the Public
Library would assist as far as possible; but remarked that their
resources were extremely limited. It was to the efforts of the Rev.
T.W. Tozer that they were not so limited as they otherwise would have
been, for he made a personal effort some years ago in augmenting their
funds. Mr. Tozer’s services, especially in that direction, had
been invaluable, and but for the limited funds at their disposal, they
would be able to carry on their work on a much broader scale. It was
unnecessary for him to dwell on the present occasion on the advantages
of a public library, for they had in their minds the speeches of
eminent public men on the opening of public libraries. He was glad to
find that application to the Committee for the supply of works of a
The Rev. W. H. Williamson, in proposing a vote of thanks to Mr. Packard
for his attendance, said he remembered the opening of the Library in
High Street by the same gentleman, and he felt what he said then would
be suitable for the present occasion. It was only a small beginning,
but he hoped that a development would be made, and that a reading-room
might be started in conjunction with the Library.
Mr W. Lindsay seconded the motion, saying that the branch would be very
convenient to the residents of that part of town.
The Chairman read letters from Mr. D. Ford Goddard and Lord John
Hervey, who regretted their inability to attend. Mr. Goddard wrote that
he had always advocated the establishment of branch libraries in
populous districts, and though the present arrangement was not equal to
his ideas, yet it was a step in the right direction.
The Rev. J.H. Jennings expressed a hope that the Committee of the
Public Library would aid them in augmenting the stock of books. From
experience he had gained in a Midland city, where his time was occupied
among the artisan classes, he found there was a strong desire for
technical knowledge among the workers. He felt that educational works
and books on elementary science would be greatly appreciated. It was
their desire in the future to erect a building which would serve as a
library and an institute, where anyone might indulge in games and
The Rev. T.W. Tozer remarked, with regard to supplying the branch with
more books, that some difficulty was experienced in parting with those
already given. The central library was so extremely limited, and the
readers had grown so rapidly that they were quite unable to meet the
demand. It was hardly known by the public that the Committee could
devote very little money to purchase of books. The library was founded
by donations, and during the first three years all the books were
purchased by funds derived in that way, and not a penny of the
ratepayers’ money had been spent. Since that time only £100
a year had been allotted to the purchase of new books, and he left them
to judge how far that would go. They would not be able to effectually
supply the Central Library, as quite £500 a year was required for
new books. Through the kindness of Mr. Packard, sen., they had a large
number of educational works, and he was sure the Committee would be
able to supply the branch with such works.
Mr. J.H. Grimwade was glad to understand they contemplated building a
reading-room in conjunction with the library. –The Secretary
spoke of the origins of the movement, and said it was proposed to build
a room which should be nearer St. John’s, and the cost was
estimated at £80, with £20 for fittings. Hearty support had
been given and the subscription list now amounted to £50,
£12 of which had been spent in starting the branch.
The library will be open Monday and Friday evenings, and Wednesday
afternoons. The following gentlemen have contributed books to the
library:– Mr. Whitfield King, 30 volumes; the Rev. J.H. Jennings,
Mr. T. Abbott Howe, Mr. Frank Woolnough and the Rev. A.R. Harper Smith.
Among the donors to the funds are Mr. D. Ford Goddard, 5 gns.; Mr. A.W.
Soames, 3 gns,, promising a further sum when the new building has been
erected; Lord Elcho M.P., 3 gns.; Sir Charles Dalrymple, M.P.,
[UPDATE 18.6.2012: We are no longer
able to display scans of original documents due to copyright issues
with the Suffolk Record Office.]
See our Alston Road page for
an exploration of the house
names, in an attempt to track down Winterbourne House.
From this fascinating article we glean that the original library was a
single room in a private house: Winterbourne House, Alston Road (we
haven't been able to identify this house and it doesn't appear to bear
a name plaque) owned by Mr R.E. Adams, who also volunteered to become
the branch’s first honorary librarian. We also note the very
limited opening hours (two evenings and one afternoon per week). It was
stocked with only 450 donated volumes. That a
book was a prized and valuable artefact is clear from the comment that:
“some difficulty was experienced in parting with those already
given”. Clearly the financial foundations were already laid for a
purpose-built branch library, but no indication is given that a
location had been chosen apart from “nearer to St
John’s”. The estimated cost would be £80, plus
£20 for fittings.
This flyer was published to promote usage of the new branch (click here to see an image of the
How one actually found a Burgess to sign one's
application to join the
library may need further research.
The desperate shortage of bookstock is clear. Even in
these early days of the Rose Hill branch, there was a drive to provide
a more permanenent home. To raise funds for the building of an 'EASTERN
DISTRICT INSTITUTE in Connection with the ROSE HILL BRANCH of the
VICTORIA FREE LIBRARY' on 24 April 1895, a Grand Concert performed by
amateur musicians was organised in the Lecture Hall, Tower Street [this
is now the Old Rep public house, variously Pool's Picture Palace, and
Allied Forces club, The Ipswich Arts Theatre, The Alexandra Theatre and
a Pentecostal church; it was converted into a lecture theatre for the
Mechanics Institute in 1849]. Lord Elcho MP returned from his prolonged
stay in the south of France and Italy (due to 'severe illness',
possibly tuberculosis) to cheering crowds at the railway station to
preside at the concert. The use of the word 'institute' indicates a
desire to provide a Reading Room as well as a place to store books.
(Information taken from EADT
cutting dated 5.4.1895)
FLS map of the Derby Road Estate,
1879 showing the initial ballot-winning owner of the library site and
the person to whom she sold it, all prior to any building on the
(Background on California and the F.L.S.)
B. The ‘Report of the Free Library Committee with
reference to the Rose Hill Branch Library 3.5.1905’ (the
typescript of which follows) picks up the story. The library receives
only 300 books lent by the Free Library, which are exchanged
half-yearly. £20 a year is also given for building hire and the
purchase and binding of books. It is open only three hours a week and
the ‘gratuitous’ Librarian is now Mr Walter Blackmore.
Importantly, the building in Tomline Road will be completed by the end
of May 1905, paid for by donations. A ground rent of 5/- per year will
be charged by the Corporation.
The Tomline Road library was opened on 24 May 1905 (the date of 1895 in
the first line of the report refers to the Alston
Road library). It was
built on land purchased by the Mayor Aldermen & Burgesses of
Ipswich in 1897 – as stated in the information from Suffolk
Record Office (detailed in a following paragraph). The building was
designed, free of charge, by Mr Frank Brown, architect and Diocesan
"REPORT OF THE FREE LIBRARY COMMITTEE WITH REFERENCE TO THE ROSE HILL
3 v 1905
Click here to see a scan
of the document.
The Rose Hill Branch Library opened in February 1895.
It was funded[?] privately and is under the management of a
300 volumes are lent by the Free Library to the Branch Library and are
exchanged half yearly if desired by the Branch Library.
For a number of years past a contribution of £20 a year has been
made by the Committee of the Free Library to the Branch Library to
cover the cost of the hire of a building and for the purchase and
binding of books.
Beyond this the Committee of the Free Library do not support or hold
themselves responsible for the Branch Library.
At the present time the Branch Library is open on three nights a week
from 8 to 9 p.m. The services of Librarian are rendered gratuitously by
Mr. Walter Blackmore.
It is understood that the new building in Tomline Road will be
completed by the end of May and that the cost of its erection will be
entirely defrayed by private contributions. A ground rent of 5/- a year
will be charged by the Corporation for the land on which it is erected.
The Committee of the Free Library recommend that the Committee of the
Branch Library be allowed the use of the new building upon the
The Branch Committee to pay rent of 5/- a year and to keep the building
both inside and outside and the fences in thorough repair and insured
against fire in the sum of £300.
The Branch Committee to submit a statement of accounts with a report
yearly or half yearly as may be decided by the Committee of the Free
The Branch Committee shall consist of 13 members (including officials),
or such other number as shall from time to time be fixed by the Free
Library Committee. A bare majority of the members shall be nominated by
the Free Library Committee.
The Branch Committee to submit all rules and regulations regarding the
Branch Library to the Committee of the Free Library for approval.
In the event of the Branch Committee ceasing to carry on the Library
all the books and fittings to forthwith become the property of the Free
Subject to [this] the tenancy to be determinable by three months notice
on either side expiring at any time of the year."
Response to Rosehill Readers from Suffolk Record Office
to an enquiry about
any deeds or covenants relating to Rosehill Library:
"There is nothing much here in the
County Council Archives. ...All the branch libraries in Ipswich would
have been the responsibility of the old Ipswich Borough Council up
until the local government reorganisation of 1974. They were then
handed over to the new Suffolk County Council.
The deed packet / file for the
Ipswich libraries is here (reference 2/3848-3950) but this has little
in it apart from the registration papers from the Land Registry showing
ownership by Suffolk County Council. The original deeds for
Rosehill Library are missing and have been for quite a long time.
There is a description of them here, however, and it shows quite
clearly that the land was acquired by the Mayor Aldermen &
Burgesses of Ipswich in 1897. There is no mention of land being
donated. In case you want to come and look at something we have here
the Annual Reports of the Borough of Ipswich Public Library
Service. The early ones might have references to Rosehill
(Reference DC6/1/1 to 30) and might be interesting. There is also
another document (Reference DC6/11/6) which is a ‘Report of the
Free Library Committee with reference to the Rose Hill Branch,
1905’ [transcribed above]."
“Rose Hill Branch Library Papers which
came into the hands of the
Trust recently reveal that of the £328 raised in 1905 for the
building of the library £100 (30%) was given by Felix Thornley
Cobbold. Sadly it is now threatened with closure.”
– Anthony Cobbold, Cobbold Family History Trust
These papers included the following two documents, both
of which have been transcribed for ease of reading. Mr Cobbold gives us
the dates for Felix Thornley Cobbold (1841 – 1909), the
philanthropist who saved both Christchurch
Mansion (and by extension the surrounding park) as a public amenity
in 1895. Also for Philip Wyndham Cobbold (1875 – 1945).
Click here to see a
scan of the document.
The next documents give a little more information, plus the list of
supporters of the library. Click here
to see a scan of the document.
D. “The Rose Hill branch of the Free Library was
opened on the 24th May 1905 by the Mayor of Ipswich, Alderman J.H.
Grimwade. The building was designed, free of charge, by Mr Frank Brown,
and erected by subscriptions collected by a Committee, of which Mr J.
Birkett was Chairman, the Rev W.H. Williamson Hon. Secretary, and Mr.
W. Blackmore Hon. Librarian. The subscriptions were announced at the
opening ceremony to be as follows:–
Mr W.F. Paul £100; Mr. Felix Cobbold £100; Mr F.H. Fosdick
£25; Mr. W. Pipe £25; Mr. B.H. Burton £25; Mr. E.
Herbert Fison £10; Mr. J. Birkett £5; Mr. A, Brown
£5; Mr. W.S. Cowell £5; Mr. P.W. Cobbold £4; Mr.
Sydney Brand £2.2s; “Book Reader” £2.2s; The
Mayor £10; Mr. H.J.W. Jervis £5; Mr. F. Fish £5.
This was stated to be sufficient to pay for the building, and to
provide something for the provision of books.”
E. "The Suffolk Record Office copy of the ‘Minute
Book of the Ipswich Victoria Free Library, Rose Hill Branch’
Rev. J.H. Jenkins B.A., Curate of Holy Trinity; Mr W. Lindsay, Alan
Road Wesleyan Church;
Mr J. Webb; Mr T. Abbott Howe; Mr R.E. Adams.
Sir C. Dalrymple M.P.; Lord Elcho M.P.; D. Ford Goddard Esq. J.P.; A.W.
J.H. Grimwade Esq..; E. Packard, Jun. Esq.; Captain E.G. Pretyman; H.
Rider Haggard Esq.;
G.A. Biddell Esq.; Rev. W.H. Williamson; Rev. G.A. Cobbold; Rev.
With many others."
Click here to see a scan
of the document.
Looking over the papers so far
gathered for this project, names resonate with Ipswichians even today.
(At a time when women were still fighting for universal suffrage
– not achieved until 1928 – those people are almost all
male.) It's worth listing a few of them here and, where indicated, they
appear in our Street name derivations
Scottish-born emigree to the US who made most of his money in the steel
industry; often regarded as the second-richest man in history after
John D. Rockefeller; major
philanthropist, particularly towards libraries.
Frank Brown (1859-1929):
architect of Rosehill Library (gratis), took over (with George Hastings
Ipswich architecture practice of Brightwen Binyon (architect of Nethaniah almshouses) on Binyon's
retirement in 1897.
possibly part of
the Birkitts Solicitors family – now a large legal firm. (In 1865
Benjamin Birkett was a
solicitor in 4 Providence Street, Ipswich.)
Mayor of Ipswich
Possibly related to the corsetier, E.
Brand whose name features on a
building in Tacket Street.
B.H. Burton (1858-1943):
Sir Bunnell Henry Burton director of the
Ipswich firm of Burton,
Son & Sanders, the
confectioners with the mill on the Wet Dock; their offices still
stand in College Street. He was
organist of St.
Mary-le-Tower Church, Mayor of Ipswich in 1905, and for 38 years
Chairman of the Governors at Ipswich School, being knighted in 1934 for
political and public services in Ipswich. A member at the Ipswich Art
Club 1910-1915. Commemorated by the Burton drinking fountain in Christchurch Park.
Felix Thornley Cobbold
(1841-1879): one of the most notable of the Cobbold family: diplomat,
brewer, banker, politician, philanthropist, farmer, MP and JP. See Street name derivations and
his blue plaque on the Reg Driver Centre.
(1857-1915): member of the famous Cobbold brewing family which lived at
Holywells House; the first Vicar of St Bartholomew's church in Rosehill
Road from 1894 until his death.
W.S. Cowell (d.
Cowell, a printer and stationer with premises in Buttermarket, Market
Lane and Falcon Street; incorporated as 'W.S. Cowell Ltd.' in 1900 to
become one of the most successful and respected commercial printers in
the country. Also had dealings in wines and spirits, rags (possibly to
make rag paper for printing) and, later, furniture. The family printing
business dated back to 1818.
Sir C. Dalrymple
politician, he was MP for Ipswich between 1886-1906.
Lord Elcho (1884-1916): Hugo Francis
Elcho; killed in action during the First World War. One of the MPs for
Ipswich, he presided at the Grand Concert in 1895 which raised funds
for the Rosehill branch.
E. Herbert Fison
F.C.S. (d. 1931): author
of Flocks and fleeces: a
history of sheep and wool with a chapter on frozen mutton (published
1894), lived at Stoke House,
Ipswich. Probably related to the famous Fison fertilizer family (see E.
D. Ford Goddard
Ipswich civil engineer and business man; Liberal MP for Ipswich
1895-1918. See Street name derivations.
J.H. Grimwade (d.
1929): John Henry Grimwade, took his father's
drapery business to
and eventually the 'J.H. Grimwade & Sons' large lettering on
store on the corner of Cornhill and
Westgate Street became an Ipswich
landmark. He was Mayor of Ipswich in 1904-5 and was a Borough Council
until his death in 1929.
H. Rider Haggard
Sir Henry Rider Haggard, best known as a novellist of African
adventures, notably She and King Solomon's Mines. Norfolk-born,
his barrister father sent him to Ipswich Grammar School, perhaps
because it was a cheap option and his father dindn't think he would
amount to much. Interesting that he maintained a link to and support
for the town which provided his education.
Whitfield King: Charles Whitfield King (b. 1855) was one of the donors of books to the initial Rosehill branch
library. King's worldwide philatelic business
was run from Morpeth House in Lacey
Jun.: chairman of the Victoria
Library Committee and son of Edward
(1848-1932) who donated scientific works to the fledgling Rosehill
branch. Packard Senior was originally a chemist who developed and
patented a method
for producing a highly
concentrated superphosphate. His own company merged with that of James
Fison of Thetford., this became Fison, Packard & Prentice. Coprolite Street is named after the
fossilised dung nodules used in the process. Packard served
High Steward of Ipswich, Chairman of the Harwich Harbour Board;
President of the SFK Chamber of Agriculture, Chairman of the Ipswich
Museum & Free Library Committee, and Chairman of the Ipswich School
of Arts. He founded the Ipswich Art Society in 1874.
W.F. Paul (1850-1928):
name crops up on the
School foundation stone, also on the gates of Bourne Park which he gave to the Borough.
He was Mayor of Ipswich 1900-1 and he gave
the site in Northgate Street to the Corporation for the building of the
Central Library. He was the 'W" in R & W Paul's maltings still emblazoned on
a silo beside the Wet Dock.
There is more about him on our More
almshouses page relating to the Wm. Paul Tenement Trust. See our Paul's malting page
for the story of the company and its importance to Ipswich.
Captain E.G. Pretyman:
think this is Cpt. Ernest George Pretyman, an officer in the Royal
(1860-1931): Secretary of State to the Board of
Trade, Civil Lord of the Admiralty (1916-19). Also MP for Woodbridge
and for Chelmsford. Inherited Orwell Park (now the public school in
Nacton) from his cousin, Colonel George Tomline, (see Street
name derivations) in 1889. Tomline is himself commemorated by the
name of the road in which Rosehill Library now stands.
Rev. Wickham Tozer (d. 1908):
Rev Thomas Wickham Tozer, pastor of the Congregational church, St
Ipswich, chairman of the Board of Guardians, the Labour Bureau and the
Ipswich Free Library. Tozer was one of the central figures in one of
the major ecclesiastical scandals of the 19th Century, the Akenham
Burial Case. It was a scandal that occupied the national press for a
year or more; a scandal that reached the highest courts in the land,
and ultimately led to a change in the law. It is the story of a
conspiracy, a tale of manipulation and persecution. Even more than
this, it was a watershed in the controversy surrounding the Oxford
Movement, and the irresistible rise of Anglo-catholicism. Tozer's tombstone is in Ipswich Old Cemetery. The whole
story is on the Akenham Church page on Simon's Suffolk Churches (see Links). Tozer also crops up on the 'lost'
inaugural stone tablet of the Heathfields,
the Ipswich Workhouse.
(1845-1930): Curator of Ipswich Museum (1893-1920) in High Street, which incorporated the Victoria Free
Library until 1924.
We think we're only missing a
Mayor (from the Latin māior, meaning "greater") is the
highest-ranking officer in the municipal government of a town or a
large urban city. In modern times the mayor's role is largely
ceremonial and is awarded to a long-serving councillor for one year, as
Alderman is a member of a
municipal assembly or council in many jurisdictions founded upon
English law. The term may be titular, denoting a high-ranking member of
a borough or county council, a council member chosen by the elected
members themselves rather than by popular vote, or a council member
elected by voters. Although the term originated in England, it had no
clear definition there until the 19th century, as each municipal
corporation had its own constitution. The title is derived from the Old
English title of ealdorman,
literally meaning "elder man", and was used by the chief nobles
presiding over shires.
Burgess is a word in English
that originally meant a freeman of a borough (England) or burgh
(Scotland). It later came to mean an elected or unelected official of a
municipality, or the representative of a borough in the English House
of Commons. It was derived in Middle English and Middle Scots from the
Old French word burgeis,
simply meaning "an inhabitant of a town".
A glance back and a glimpse forwards...
Left: the lower section of
Street slopes steeply away, eventually to
meet the bottom of Bishop's Hill. Right: Upper Cavendish Street as it
crosses Newton Road and, framed at the end, Rosehill Library. But for
It is clear from these early documents that the library
Ipswich, as in so many places in the country, relied on philanthropy:
'the great and the good' attending meetings, rallying support,
(sometimes donating their own books) and dipping into their pockets
to found a public service which in the 21st century we take for granted
and which is now under threat from central government and County
Council funding cuts and
'efficiency savings'. Indeed, the building of the centre-piece of what
was to become a countywide library service – nowadays
significantly called 'County Library' – in Northgate
Ipswich relied heavily on funding from the Carnegie U.K. Trust, itself
a philanthopic organisation. In 2010 this amount (of £22,500 in 1921) would have
equivalent to around £2,970,000.
From the political position summed up by the words of the
MP in 1849
with which we started this page:
"people have too much
knowledge already: it was much
easier to manage them twenty years ago; the more education people get
the more difficult they are to manage"
our society appears to have come full circle. The ethos of free
to information, books, the internet and culture has driven our public
library service for many decades. The assumption that "everyone
has the internet nowadays" is false. Firstly, it assumes that all
information, commentary and fiction published in books are available on
the World Wide Web. Secondly, the large, rural county of Suffolk has a
scattered (and increasingly ageing) population whose access to public
transport – always limited or non-existent – is also
suffering cuts in funding. The global financial crisis of 2007/8 still
reverberates around local government and public services and only in
2012 are people seeing their employment, income, housing and family
stability at threat. As many in the population suffer decreasing living
standards, the option of broadband internet, if it's available at all,
becomes unaffordable. We face the prospect of the majority of our
society becoming significantly poorer by financial, educational,
cultural and other
measures. A free-of-charge public library book service, as laid down in
the 1964 Act, becomes a vital resource for anyone wishing to access the
intellectual means to improve their position. This can include access
to materials for education, training, literacy, self-improvement and
new areas of employment. It also encompasses the wealth of creative
texts which give us novels, poetry and non-fiction of all kinds; not to
mention children's books on every conceivable subject which are so
popular with families.
Reading a book can change your life. As can watching a film, listening
to a piece of music...
Do we really need to wait for another Andrew Carnegie to come along if
it is decided
century Britain can't afford decent public services, epitomised by
Rosehill Library in Ipswich?
. Twinch, Carol:
'Ipswich street by street',
Breedon Books, 2006
. Clegg, James. ‘The international
second-hand booksellers and bibliophile's manual : including lists of
the public libraries of the world; publishers, book collectors, learned
societies and institutions’. 1899
. Historical research by Jonathan Clift,
User’ website (http://www.suffolklibraryuser.org.uk/)
. Kelly's Directory 1920
. History of Holy Trinity Church by Roy Tricker
. Map reproduced in the book Redstone, L.J.: Ipswich through the
Anglian Magazine Ltd, 1948
. Ordnance Survey map, eastern Ipswich sections 1883/4 (Scale 1/1250)
. The Cobbold Family History Trust (http://www.cobboldfht.com),
Anthony Cobbold's definitive history of the noted Ipswich family
. List of Mayors of Ipswich
the first Mayor having taken up office in 1836.
Also archive research by Tony James, staff member at Rosehill
. Robert Malster has written several excellent local history books,
couple of our favourites are shown on the Reading
To report any historical, typographical or linguistic inexactitudes, or
to contribute any information or anecdotes about Rosehill Library,
please click the email link below.
[UPDATE 16.5.2012: 'Borin, You
have done a great job with that web site and I have enjoyed every
minute that I have spent looking at it. Thank you. -Anthony'
(from Anthony Cobbold of the Cobbold Family History Trust see Links)]
[UPDATE 27.5.2012: 'Borin,
Phew, you've been doing a heck of a lot of work! Yes, I've just scanned
(with the eye!) your web page; ... I do find it fascinating, you have
done a good job digging so much out. - Bob Malster']
Rosehill churches; Rosehill house names;
research on the history of the Rosehill area;
name plaque examples: Alston Road;
Cauldwell Hall Road; Cavendish Street; Marlborough Road; Broom Hill
Ipswich & Suffolk Freehold Land
Society (F.L.S.); California;
Street index; Origins of street names
in Ipswich; Streets named after slavery
Dated buildings list; Dated buildings examples;
Named (& sometimes dated) buildings
Street nameplate examples; Brickyards.
Please email any comments and contributions by clicking here.
throughout the Ipswich
Historic Lettering site: Borin Van Loon
No reproduction of text or images without express written permission